Biomaterial matrices must permit tissue growth and maturation for the success of tissue regeneration strategies. Naturally, this accommodation is achieved via the dynamic remodeling of a cell’s extracellular matrix (ECM). Synthetically, hydrolytic or enzymatic degradation are often engineered into materials for this purpose. More recently, supramolecular interactions have been used to provide a biomimetic and tunable mechanism to facilitate tissue formation via their dynamic and reversible non-covalent interactions. By engineering the mechanical and bioactive properties of a material, supramolecular chemists are able to design permissivity into the construct and facilitate tissue integration in-vivo. Furthermore, via the reversibility of non-covalent interactions, injectability and responsiveness can be designed for enhanced delivery and spatio-temporal control. In this review, we delineate the basic considerations needed when designing permissive supramolecular hydrogels for tissue engineering with an eye toward tissue growth and integration. We highlight three archetypal hydrogel systems that have shown well-documented tissue integration in vivo, and provide avenues to assess tissue in-growth. Careful design and assessment of the biomedical potential of a supramolecular hydrogels can inspire the creation of robust and dynamic implants for new tissue engineering applications.
Full Access Link: Acta Biomaterialia